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tv   Close Up  CSPAN  March 23, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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which is encouraging a critical piece if i remember some of the conversations we had on the ground as they become more adept to their abilities and capacity, that they are able to maintain and hold the various intake to lead, which i think is an impressive piece of the equation here. ..
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>> tell me what you think we need to be doing or where we are in this regard. i know you talked about pakistan in the earlier discussion. this to me is one of my biggest concerns about -- and i will be very frank with you. the lack of focus, in my view, by pakistan helping us us as this effort when we know -- and we can also pinpoint where it is coming from. we are not getting the full cooperation. help me understand, because this is one big question that i get from alaskans in the frustration that we have.
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our troops are there and they are frustrated with lack of participation. i know some will correct me, but the fact is i don't see that they are doing as much as they could be. >> senator, let me first say that i had the opportunity a few weeks ago to meet with the people who have been doing a trigger job. as they operate themselves and with the coalition of afghan forces. the two elements to the elements that you described. first, we have come in just as you indicated, we have gotten better at e. counter ed fight in afghanistan. we have gotten better at time. unfortunately, because it is not just persistent, but because the enemy is continuing to adapt.
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the joint organization has done good work. our team and country has continued to focus on that challenge. i can say that in multiple levels and multiple times, we have raised the challenge of this type of sanctuary for the development and for the movement of ied's and pakistan and afghanistan. pakistan has a very significant interest in afghanistan. they also have a significant interest, and it is probably because i know that they are suffering significant casualties within pakistan. he will continue to work with them. we will continue to do everything possible to address this and reduce the threat that these ied's post to u.s. coalition and afghan forces. >> i appreciate the comment. i recognize the delicacy of how to deal with this.
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you know, i also look at it from another perspective. for example, the capacity for afghanistan, and this is around some of the things we are doing -- the governance, the economic capacity to survive. afghanistan used to be an incredible producer of vegetables, fruits, so forth. pakistan is a problem here. moving those products at an aggressive rate because of their problems with india. if we ever want to make that region more secure, we have to figure these out -- pakistan seems to be a critical piece from the national security perspective of afghanistan. but also from the economic opportunities that are being denied to them. do either one you want of you want to comment on that?
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>> senator, i agree with what you said and the importance of developing both internal and external markets for afghanistan, as they begin to grow more capacity. i want to thank you and the committee for support of the defense department contribution and the task force on business of the -- stability operations. part of what it does is look for a long-term significant move on the afghan economy for minimal extraction, for example. a key part of it is also to look at this bottom up -- grassroots industry, helped develop that in industries where we are helping them develop that capacity. i noted we were in afghanistan a couple of weeks ago. i was in india less than a month ago. i had an opportunity to speak also with a number of the inner officials. they, as you know, have a
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long-standing interest in afghanistan. they are also interested and are committed to the economic relationship. let me just conclude by saying that regional context is critically important. over time, the economic element is going to be vital and to understand that we have work to do and we continue to work on it. >> very good. general allen, you spoke earlier about where we are in respect to withdrawing and what would happen over time and so forth. and you had some areas of concern as you monitor this and watch this. i know senator nelson and i were a supporter of it. we have a benchmark list within the last authorization bill, honestly, i would love if you would share, not only with me, but with other members, where we are in those benchmarks and how those benchmarks -- and this one
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because my time is now out, how those benchmarks could influence the timetable currently in place, but also can a positive moment -- movement have acceleration drawdown that may occur. could you or anyone who would be the appropriate person -- could you talk about how those benchmarks and the metrics of the benchmarks compared to where we are at for our 2014 target to get our troops out. are their benchmarks that could accelerate that may give you an opportunity to accelerate the combat troop withdraw? could you do that for the record and present that to us at some point we might. >> we had your question, sir. we would be glad to answer it. >> thank you, again, i can't say enough about the work of the troop troops on the ground.
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everyone from the wounded warrior team that we saw to that folks doing the dock work. troops on the ground, it was impressive. i was very proud to say that one fourth of the base comes from alaska. i want to thank you for the work you are doing over there and. >> think you for your support as well. >> senator baggage. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you for talking to the committee today and, in particular, general allen, i want to thank you for your powerful testimony repudiating some of the outrageous rhetoric that sometimes come from president karzai from our troops. we share your sentiments about their integrity, their bravery and their sacrifice and so, thank you for your testimony in that regard. let me share my opinion that is the same as senator chambliss and the other senator.
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these are the worst of the worst. these five have the blood of americans on their hands. i want to commend the secretary for taking certification responsibility seriously. i just don't see how you can possibly certify that these five guys wouldn't return to the battlefield, given our history from guantánamo. i want to thank the secretary for what i consider to be his position for those five detainees. general allen, we had recently, before it the committee, senator mccain spoke with general mattis about al qaeda making a comeback in iraq. the general said al qaeda's comeback was noteworthy in western iraq and he even said that al qaeda is threatening to send in people to baghdad. general, you have served in iraq with distinction. you know and understand, not
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only with your current responsibilities in afghanistan, but the importance of what we have done in iraq. optically, the role that iran can play in iraq, not only in iraq, but currently in afghanistan. can you help me -- what was the perception of us not leaving a follow-on force in iraq and afghanistan, given your need to, of course, make sure that you execute a strategic partnership? and second, what lessons can we take from that as we go forward in making sure that we have a follow on agreement in afghanistan? >> back in november, the last year, president karzai, i think, wisely, convened something called the loya jirga.
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in this example it was afghans that came from all walks of life who came together to answer two questions. should there be a strategic partnership, with the united states, and should afghanistan pursue peace with the taliban. the first of the two being the preeminent outcome of this. the afghan constitution states that the voice of the people, as expressed through the loya jirga, is the highest expression of the people. there was no question as the committees of the loya jirga said, it was the representatives of the afghan people that indicated a desire a long-term relationship with the united states. individual contours, which remain to be negotiated.
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i don't believe that there was ever in iraq a similar expression or similar grouping of the iraqis to express themselves about that long-term u.s. presence. they delay, because of the loya jirga, and the articles ultimately -- it's expression, we have a feel for what that relationship should be. i think that the voice of the people expressed in the loya jirga was able to the taliban. when it supported a strategic partnership, which will ultimately come into effect within weeks, another blow to the taliban that will set up the conference, the summit of the heads of state of the 15 nations of isaf and chicago in may, when they register their unequivocal support for afghanistan, not just in 2014, but in the years that follow, that will be another blow to the taliban and
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a signal that the united -- international community desires peace and stability. it is not as good just good for the afghan people, not just supported of the government, but also good for the region and iraq. the ground is just different. it is different in afghanistan now. these tragedies recently notwithstanding, which have, in fact, updated the issue. i believe that the president, president karzai and his government still remain committed to a strategic partnership. we will pursue that. i hope i answered questions. >> let me ask you. you testified that iran is playing a role in the counter insurgency. what role is iran playing, and how important is entering the strategic partnership in terms of not only the interest in not having it become -- afghanistan
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become a safe haven for al qaeda, but also as a blow to iran and their influence in the region? >> well, great question. just as nature abhors a vacuum, so do politics. should the united states we've afghanistan, should isaf, nato, leave afghanistan, that would create, in my mind, a geopolitical vacuum. ahead of the ansi being able to take full security. what the strategic partnership does is put the region on notice that the presidents of the united states in afghanistan is a presence that is reassuring to the afghan people. it is a presence that is reassuring to the afghan government. it buys the time necessary for the afghan government to go through the process of reform necessary, as president karzai
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has said, to get at this culture of impunity with respect to corruption. it buys time for the afghan national security forces to continue their professionalization. a stable -- the iranians may not be happy for an american presence there or western presence, nonetheless, the afghan people desire it, and our presence ultimately works to iran's benefit to. it does affect across border flow of narcotics, weapons, and human trafficking. the afghans are over with one and half million refugees in iran, they might be able to go home to stability. it is in their interest as well. >> just to be clear, as you know general, doctor, we have great concerns about the iranian regime. it is in our interest that we formed a strategic partnership in terms of working their interest in that area. we do not want them to feel that power vacuum. isn't that true.
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>> that is correct. the spa would do that. >> and that is important to the security of the united states. >> absolutely, ma'am. >> thank you both, and thank you for your service to our country. >> senator, if i could add very quickly, first to reiterate the importance of the strategic partnership during commitment and how that it is not only an essential for security, but it affects perceptions. second to say, we have seen you playing both sides of the fence. we have provided some support to the afghan government and provided some support to the taliban. if they see it in their interest to stir the pot and so forth, i think that that strategic partnership, the advancement of the ansf and the clear expression of commitment by the united states coalition is going to cause them to recalculate. it's.
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>> we all want iran to have to recalculate thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. inc. you doctor miller and doctor alan. it's a family affair. doctor miller, if i may, as you know, i have serious reservations about the stability of the afghan security forces are at the afghan people have had their military will buy multiple foreign powers. according to the recent reports, the soviet goal was 350,000 to build their troops. they never got there because afghan military was played played with desertion. those are the very same columns we are facing now. our goal has then to build the afghan security forces to 352,000. in october of this year, general
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burgess recently testified that they still rely on us for logistics, intelligence, and transport. my question would be, doctor, is the afghan army built in the 1980s which did not last, what is your assessment of how long the afghan army will into her what we are trying to do now, and will they be able to secure the country without her help once a week? >> senator, i was searching for the precise figures. i am sure that general allen has them inside his head area i will just way that to date our experience is that for the national army of afghan, their monthly attrition rates are coming down. they are not quite to the targets that we would like to have. they are coming down, and they are close. for the afghan national police, they have a period of at least seven months where they have been blow that attrition rate. that is just one indicator of
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sustainability. there is no question that sustaining -- growing this force and then sustaining it is a quality force, it is going to be a continued challenge. as general allen said, it is not just the path to transition. it is a competent and capable ansf, the path to success. as we continue to provide resources, it is we continue to have our units partner with them, and as we transition to mentor them and over time as we move to strategic overwatch, this is going to continue to be an essential mission, and it is one that i know that this committee and the congress watch closely. metrics don't capture all of what is going on, but they do capture some elements that we are committed to to continuing
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to provide the best information that we can on these metrics. we have seen very substantial growth in quantity, general allen is better able to speak to it, we have also seen improvements in quality. is that force grows up to the 250,000 level, sometime before october of this year, that focus on quality and that focus on training is going to be -- will need to be sustained. not just for this year, but for many years to come. >> that is what i've been hearing. the problem i have with this, and if i may ask general allen, i disrespectfully disagree with this. -- i respectfully disagree on this. i respect the job you have all done. especially under adverse conditions. but i have some concerns. what i would say is we should really be rebuilding america. we have so many needs in our country rather than the money we are spending in afghanistan.
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i have been there. i have had the honor of going twice. i think people for the job they do. i did not see an improvement from two -- 62 -- 11. i would say this. i do not see things getting better despite the best efforts we put forward. president karzai just endorsed a code of conduct that allows husbands to be wives, encourages sexism, reduces whites of women's in divorce cases. the wartime commission in afghanistan estimates that waste and fraud average about 12 main dollars every day for the past 10 years. that is about 4.4 billion per year for the past 10 years. that would go a long ways in west virginia, i can assure you.
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we have given $85 billion to rebuild afghanistan. these products are not sustainable. we could have built new elements, schools in this country. the list goes on and on. my question would be, sir, why do we continue to give this country more money. another is a group of people that make this decision, i don't see any other way -- the effects that the large insurance -- the project have, i was there when general petraeus was going to rotate out and ask the same question. >> well, i think the large infrastructure programs to carry a risk as you point out a long-term operations and
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maintenance. i think we are only now beginning to understand. but the infrastructure programs that have been supported by the afghan infrastructure fund, for example, which ultimately will connect the northeast power system and the southeast power system, will work to raise the level of the dam, a well-prepared hiker wanders of the dam and install the third turbine. while they are heavy infrastructure programs, it has the capacity of delivering capacity to the population to con a heart and the population in the south. that would otherwise not have been available to them. i think it is an important contribution to our ability to
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eject the taliban from the population to the south. a burgeoning strategy which has been under way for some period of time in kandahar. it has provided us the ability to electrify businesses and provide electricity to the population. the taliban could not have hoped or imagined of providing for that population. it has given them opportunities, giving them opportunities to support government and pursue activities that would have not otherwise been possible. go ahead, sir. >> the other thing -- my time is running out. the other thing that took me over the top was the only country that was successful in trying to be successful, extracting any minerals they have such as copper is china. china has not had a boot on the ground, i know their country will profit none. that is beyond my competence in.
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that we could be doing that there when we should be taking care of america. >> senator, if i could ask her that last piece. it is very much in our best interest -- vital interest to ensure that al qaeda does not find sanctuary in afghanistan again. in order to do that,. >> sir, al qaeda has presence everywhere else. you said that yourself that there is little presence of al qaeda. >> are you going to police the whole world and set up shop next. >> that is a sign of this campaign has been successful. afghanistan, as you know well, is a source of the attack on the united states and 9/11. it is different. because of our history there, and our commitment there, it is different. but i want to say with respect to the economic development of afghanistan, we are making an
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addition to the afghan infrastructure by making other relatively modest investments compared to the stakes that we have, and what we should insist upon is that we have a level playing field. not that it is in our favor, but for the economic development of afghanistan, that we have the opportunity to compete in our businesses, have the opportunity to compete -- while they may not win everyone, i believe that they will win their share. >> thank you, so much. my time is up. i truly appreciate your service. i really do. >> senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> doctor miller, you had supplied earlier this week on the four and $5 billion earlier on 10 a year.
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>> the afghan government has total billion revenue under $2 billion. even if the afghan government were to devote every dime that it has sued the afghan security forces, which always we would not concede, it doesn't cover half of the costs. since the afghan security forces strategy, this is the key issue, because the afghan government cannot afford to sustain its own forces. i know that this administration is trying to get commitments for long-term funding from other governments, but when i look at most of the european countries, they have budget problems that are worse than ours. they haven't -- not even the
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nato has established targets for funding, much less the contribution to support the afghan security forces. that leads me to the question of how long the project that we americans are going to have to bear most of the cost of paying for the afghan security forces? are we talking about 10 years or 20 years? can we realistically expect that the afghan government is ever going to be able to sustain the cost of its own security forces? >> senator collins, the afghan government, i believe, can and will and should pay a share of the cost of the ansf. i believe that we will see a
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commitment from them to do so. but you are correct that it will not be -- for the near-term for the midterm. it will not be a majority of those costs. you are also correct that this demonstration is working hard to ask other countries, other isaf countries to make a commitment to be ansf. we are looking at the front end of that process, we are looking to get all of the commitments that we can to be able to have a conversation about that at the chicago summit -- the chicago nato summit. to be able to follow that with focus on economic development in tokyo. understand that before i would come back up to the senate or to the congress and ask for resources, from the american
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people and ask you for that, we will do everything possible to make sure that afghanistan contributes an amount that he can. we have done everything that we can to get contributions from others and ask for the amount that we believe is necessary to sustain the ansf at a level that will provide for stability of the country and will provide for the reduced risk to you the united states. >> when i look at the numbers and look at how poor afghanistan is, it just seems to me that we are looking at a never ending commitment. i am not saying that the afghans won't contribute, but when their entire budget is less than half the cost of sustaining the troops right today, that is troubling. i want to turn to another broader issue, general alan,
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your opening statement was so eloquent and moving. the story that you told a the incredible sacrifice of our troops is inspiring. it is inspiring to all of us who are aware of those sacrifices and how patriotic our troops are and how much we ask of them. it also gives me some hope when i hear you say, i am confident that we will prevail in this and endeavor. i recall that i heard very similar assessments for 10 years now that we are making progress. but they are hopeful that we will be successful in the end, but that the gains are fragile
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and reversible. i also read press reports of a new assessment by our intelligence community, and i realize this is a classified assessment and that you cannot address it publicly in detail. but if the press reports are correct, they are discouraging. one report in the los angeles times quotes an official of the saying last years surge may be unsustainable. it goes on to say that the intelligence estimate also passed out about the broader objective of improving developments developing competent and reducing corruption, reaching and illuminating the state havens in
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pakistan. an official goes on to report that the afghan government may not be able to survive as the u.s. federally pulls out its troops and reduces military assistance. again, general, i know that you cannot discuss the classified assessment, it even though it appears to have made its way into the press. but please tell me why those concerns are wrong. in your judgment, why are you optimistic that ultimately we will be able to prevail, which seems to contradict these reports. i know our troops are terrific and that they will do anything that they are asked and even more. i know that your own leadership is brilliant. i just wonder if this is doable.
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>> ma'am, if i didn't think it was doable, i would tell you. i tell you very quickly, because i wouldn't want to spend another life in this fight if it wasn't doable. we did disagree. and i would be very happy to provide you a classified response as to why we did. it wasn't just the commander of isaf to disagree, it was the u.s. ambassador, commander and the supreme commander of europe. the issue was more in the assessment of the future than it is about the present. and i evaluate our success in the future by the success i am seeing in the present. i am confident that if we continue on this trajectory with the kinds of capabilities that we have, with the kinds of successes that the afghan national security forces are cheating, that we can prevail in
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this. i cannot go into the details here, but i believe we can illustrate why we differ in that particular assessment. i have to be quick to point out that i know a number of those analysts, and every single day as a commander i benefit from the magnificent work that they do in producing intelligence necessary for me to make decisions. i appreciate that. there were a number of them that got them to the media. there were a number of areas that we believe that we see right now that gives us hope that in the long-term assessment, which begins in 2014, the start point for that assessment is just different than we see it now. i am very happy to give you argue on that, ma'am. >> thank you. i would very much welcome that classified rebuttal. that would be very helpful, and again, thank you so much for your leadership and your
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personal sacrifices. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator collins, request for classified rebuttal, is that something you will give us for the record? >> yes, sir, we will. >> thank you very much. senator blumenthal is next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to join in thanking you for your service, general alan, and for the eloquence and power of your response today. my wish is that more americans could hear them firsthand. they contain very powerful information you shared with us during my last visit about the success of our special operations, our night raids,
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particularly, the raids of civilian casualty, the high rate of successfully seeking targets and degrading the leadership of the insurgents, taliban, al qaeda. you have noted in the materials that you have provided that the ied's rate of interdiction and success that we have on our part is declining. the least over the last month. but i think it is fair to say that the insurgents don't necessarily seek to rely more on the program as they find themselves less successful in engaging us indirect attack, is that correct the mac that is correct, sir. >> we have heard testimony from others, including general clapper, that pakistan has made, and i am quoting from the
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legislation that i sponsored that requires pakistan to make a more significant effort, we have seen no significant effort and others testified to the same effect. would you disagree with them? have you seen a significant effort? >> at a classified level, i can say that pakistan has taken steps on a couple of important areas. on the whole, with respect to the reduction of the flow of calcium ammonium nitrate, which is the principal precursor, if you will, homemade explosive that afflicts so many casualties, we have not seen the level of cooperation or action that we have requested or desired. >> i think you have answered my question very well. any other information you can provide on a classified basis, certainly i would welcome as
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well. i gather that we are also making progress. i have heard from general barbero and the officials in providing more of the equipment that protects our troops, oath dismounted -- principally dismounted, and in fact, may have new iteration this pastor's. >> there have really been terrific work that has been done in that regard, senator. of course, your leadership and the leadership of the committee has done an awful lot. everything from undergarment which is saving lives and troops features, to improvements in the armor applications -- the armor kits for it the troops, to be hyperspectral imagery to some of our improvements of intelligence
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and improvements to attack the network. these have contributed to reducing the vulnerability of our troops and reducing casualties, but the casualties are still too high. >> still too high, and having seen, as you have done, far more than i., the results are absolutely insidious from the effects. >> absolutely. >> they come back as absolutely unacceptable. i thank you for the tremendous tremendous leadership and all you have done for combating it. i want to turn for a moment some of the problem areas that you have identified in this effort. going beyond the military strain, so to speak, you have identified the human terrain. which includes the problems of
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corruption in the karzai administration. that is a challenge that has to be addressed. in my view. i think, perhaps others and yours as well. i was wondering if you could tell us whether you believe there is progress in that area. >> senator blumenthal, as you know, we have a line of operation within a campaign plan which seeks to diminish and reduce the influence of corruption on those aspects of our relationship with afghanistan that could compromise our mission. to that end, we have leveraged task force transparency, working closely with tax force 2010, a with respect to contracting to reduce our water abilities to money flowing to readily into the pockets of the insurgents themselves. the task force is working very
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closely with our own embassy, with the inner agency back here in the united states, with an international community on a series of initiatives which ultimately can provide support to reducing corruption. we have recommended illicit activities for afghanistan initiatives, which, i believe -- they received favorable consideration by the department of defense. it is being considered for a full blown inner agency approach. we think that the afghan threat finance cell, which is an inner agency sell and partnership, the usmc, british embassy, which includes partnership of administrations, the fbi, the department of justice, is helping to create a synergy. specifically to your question, sir, president karzai, who has spoken frequently about this
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culture of impunity, which must be addressed in order for afghanistan to show off the corrosive effects of corruption and become a functioning democracy, the council has worked in partnership with us to attempt to defeat the organized criminal penetration and seizure of the borders porous, which robs the afghans daily of millions and millions of resources, as well, the ministry of defense has recently taken the accountability group, which is a complete ministry defense which is led by minister [inaudible]. everything from if you're chairman of weapons to assistance of weapons, it is a
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very comprehensive assessment, which is then built into the plan to work with those. the minister of interior is taking a similar assessment, which will really lay bare the corruption issues in the two security industries, which are our principal partners both in terms of building our credible ansf, but also being a shield for stability from the state. those are important. the proof in the pudding is what we are seeking to do -- having now design effective work plans, now we have to start checking off the items. that is really where we will see how serious everyone is in their commitment to do this. >> before my time expires, i have observed some of the reports related to human trafficking among contractors. there are about 70,000 out of
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country employees from the philippines, other countries, employed by contractors and subcontractors. i'm going to be introducing a measure along with one other member to seek to prevent and remedy that problem. it has been identified by the commission on contracting is a problem as well. i don't know whether you have any observations on those issues. >> you can make those brief. we have to more senators and our vote has started. >> you can respond in writing. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you senator blumenthal's. >> thank you senator brandt. >> enqueue. we have a lot and a short amount of time to get there. german, would you agree with me we really haven't had it right over 10 years? really sends
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general modesto, we haven't had the right strategy or resources? >> i believe we have the right strategy now and the right resources the mac so it is really not tenures, unfortunately, just the last several years. you agree with me that afghanistan is the center of gravity for the moment in the war on terror? >> i believe it is, sir. >> senator, i do. in our history there, it is also an essential for our credibility to conduct operations elsewhere in. >> here's a comment. no one can guarantee success in war or politics. you can do your best. i have great deal of confidence in your plan. i ask my colleagues to listen closely. you ask good, hard questions. i have come to conclude that you and your plan represent the last, best chance for success in afghanistan. we both agreed that to you but agree that? >> i concur with that. >> senator graham, this is such
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a moment in afghanistan. senator, i want to say that there will be bumps in the road, and you know that, sir. >> is this the last, best chance, no guarantees? >> no guarantees it can be done in. >> here's my comment to my colleagues. i understand it is difficult back home, but i believe that this is our last, best chance. the only way that we will really fail at the end of the day, is in our political system. not to support at this time, i know it is constant and it has gone a long time. but we have to keep it in perspective. doctor miller, urge i urge the minister to stand by this plan and make sure it has the resources it needs. i promised the president of the united states i will do everything on the republican side to support this plan. now, in terms of the cost. would you agree with me, general
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allen, in the history of warfare, the attack on this country of 9/11 that cost probably a million dollars with the best return on investment in the history of warfare in terms of the cost on the intended target? >> here's what you need to understand. it took a million dollars to knock down the two towers and kill over 3000 americans. and the place that attack came from was afghanistan. please think about what it would be like for our future safety if the place we went to to secure it, we failed. i think we would be buying, in terms of cost,. as to the army, general, the senator and i have the same opinion on this. what is the difference in cost between 200 30,000 dollars and a
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year to maintain afghan soldiers? 1 billion, 2 billion, 3 billion do we know the difference? >> it is between two and 3 billion. >> i would suggest after all we have done, that we should take a view that that two or $3 billion of annual cost for a pure time is best of an investment that we could make. do not, is it your goal to leave afghanistan withdrawal with security and honor for the united states? >> of course it is. >> you agree with me that the strategic partnership agreement entered into and executed properly is the turning point in the war? >> i believe it is, sir. >> you agree with me that if we maintain the night raids as a military tactic, the military -- the enemy will suffer greatly. >> i do a. >> do group maybe he will never allow that program to be terminated, you will always strive for afghan sovereignty is terms of its implementation?
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>> i will. >> we please tell captain mayer, the man who has been doing this along with his team, but he extended and took a year away from his family that he didn't have to do, it bore grapefruit to you and the afghan partners. congratulations on the agreement. >> thank you. >> you agree with me that if we had a follow on force, not just trainers, but a counterterrorism force, strategically located in afghanistan, airbases with american air power and special forces units, that is the end of the taliban and streams of ever taking over afghans and? >> i do, sir. >> and that is about part of the strategic agreement? >> hopefully it will be, sir. >> do you agree to? >> i do agree. >> and that pakistan needs to quit betting on the taliban because they are losers? >> it will stably as afghanistan which is good for pakistan's. >> tell me how the people of
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afghanistan see the taliban as a whole? do they miss some? >> there is no love lost there, sir. >> they hate them, don't they? >> they consider that periods what they call the darkness. >> what is the feeling on the ground of the 85% of people who want to live free of the taliban of what they may or may not do. what would they feel like right now? >> i think they are deeply concerned that we may not conclude a strategic partnership agreement. >> i am telling everyone in this committee if we get this right, not only will they feel better, but i will feel better and we will win this thing. killing bin laden, congratulations to the administration and to our military that the killing of the mom >> the taliban has not registered -- there is no registry of that. >> those who believe that you can kill terrorists and we will be safe and come home, do you agree with that?
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>> is that the way to maintain perpetual security. >> no. the stability comes from a long-term presence. >> doesn't the stability come from helping the many where they live, fight and to see these bastards in their backyard so we don't have to send 100,000 troops? >> not just to help in the fight but to give the population competence because it is the right choice for them to. >> senator, i hate to do this. >> thank you senator mccaskill. i really appreciate at. >> senator mccaskill. >> thank you, and thank you both. i think only our military could be accomplishing what we are a congressman and the most difficult of circumstances. everyday, the passes, i stand and not of the leadership of our military and the sacrifices that you will make. some of my colleagues have touched on some of this, so i won't feel the need to go into it, but as you know, i have
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spent time looking at contracting, and i know auditors are pesky, but you are aware. >> thank you for that. >> we have $20 billion of reconstruction money in iraq that can't be accounted for. we can't find $20 billion to be spent on reconstruction. we know and i can cite in this question and a number of projects that we built in iraq, that prisons that are sitting empty, healthcare facilities that never opened, water parks that stand crumbling, some of this was a i f., this new thing that we are doing, it is that the military is engaging in infrastructure construction, as opposed to what we traditionally did in this country, this is new territory. what i want to drill down on the couple minutes i have, the aif
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money. i am aware of the projects, to transportation products, i am aware of the water projects. i know that the money is going to complete these projects. even though many of them will not be completed until 2014 and beyond. what worries me most is what is this new 400 million for in aif. if we are completing these products now, what this envisions is that we are going to start brand-new major infrastructure products, where regardless of what senator brown says, we all know that some of the security we have to buy works its way into the hands of the bad guys. we know that they have no capability of sustaining many of these because of their gdp, the afghanistan people and the government. they don't even have a national highway system with any kind of revenue that can even fix things after we build them.
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i am confused. as you know, studies have been done. wow i think s. u. r. p. when i began in this committee, i had a heart-to-heart with general petraeus about 16 broken windows and storefronts. we have more far beyond 16 broken windows and storefronts. we are now doing major, major multimillion dollar infrastructure projects. i just don't think that we have seen in the study that shows -- other than what is putting a lot of money into their economic development -- that it is actually helping with the counterinsurgency. i need to know why are we just reflexively asking for the billions of dollars in syrup and aif for the next year or? or is there specific plans? >> we will give you the specific plan for the aif. let me take that for the record.
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we will give that to you for the level of a detail. >> when i took command, a one of the most important admonitions that i gave my commissioners was fiscal responsibility. i told him we have to ensure that every dollar that we spend in afghanistan is a dollar that contributes to afghanistan security, not economics 30 over the long term. that is why we are moving, first of all, if you look at our obligation rate for surp, it is in that high this year because we are going to the right kinds of. the vast majority of the projects are $50,000 and below, and they are community project. projects which ultimately the community has a say in and will help the community. we'll continue to focus on that in that regard. when we spend money, it doesn't create additional dependency. we seek to have that money really be what the commanders need surp to do, which is to provide on the ground, immediate assistance of an urgent nature,
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ultimately to congress mission. >> i know the other obligated money, and i really hope you all consider this. i want you to look at what we're building and that we're going to finish it, i want to look at the un- obligated surp money, because it is significant. it was appropriated over 3 billion. we have 1 billion and a half that has not even been obligated. maybe it would be time to say, we can do about that 800 million over the next visceral year. >> we won't spend a dollar that we don't need to spend. that is my obligation to you. >> i think it might be something that would help reassure the american people that we have obligated money that we have artie appropriated, maybe not asking for more would be a show of good faith for the american people that would not be building things in afghanistan that we really need to be building here that might not be sustained in light of the challenges that afghanistan faces. >> very fair comment, senator. >> i have identified money that i will not spend. i have done -- i recognize we're
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not going to use all of surp. we will return that money we don't need its. >> that sounds good. i am sorry, i think we have to go vote. >> is among the afghan resources council, i agree we need to do better. we are working at it. we appreciate your support, and we appreciate it for the department and in the field. we have to do better on auditing, contracting. we will continue to work hard on its. >> i worry that if we go down the path of new major reconstruction projects, as we draw down, a consideration that
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you will have is not just a transition as it relates to the safety and security of our troops, but what we have to leave on the ground for the contracts? i think we will end up with a situation like we did in iraq. we found ourselves pulling, and we looked, and we still had tens upon thousands of contractors on the ground. i just want to make sure that those two pieces are getting wedded together and we are not going down a path with blinders on, aif, more reconstruction not realizing that we could be in 2018, still building a dam with minimal troops on the ground in terms of any kind of security protection. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you folks very much. >> the good news is that the senator has come back for his questions. the good news is that we are going to take a break. we thank you for your questions. the testimony has been strong and clear, very powerful and very
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